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The Dressmaker's Gift

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4.22  ·  Rating details ·  51,490 ratings  ·  2,867 reviews

A Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller.

From the bestselling author of The Beekeeper’s Promise comes a gripping story of three young women faced with impossible choices. How will history – and their families – judge them?

Paris, 1940. With the city occupied by the Nazis, three young seamstresses go about their normal lives as best they can. But all three are

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Kindle Edition, 286 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Lake Union Publishing
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Mary Jean I’m pretty sure the author was hinting at epigenetics, for which there is now considerable scientific evidence. However, I do agree that Felicity’s su…moreI’m pretty sure the author was hinting at epigenetics, for which there is now considerable scientific evidence. However, I do agree that Felicity’s suicide doesn’t exactly track well with her mother’s character and beliefs. My thought is that the author put this part in for the purpose of helping Harriet, the descendant of both women, learn to forgive through compassion. And after forgiveness can sometimes come a better understanding, or reframing, of how things unfolded as they did.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  51,490 ratings  ·  2,867 reviews


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Paige
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
This novel follows other modern historical fiction trends: the modern-day character, Harriet, finds an old photograph in box that shows her grandmother as a young lady with two other girls, and Harriet then makes it her goal to uncover the past of her familial history concerning her grandmother, Claire.

The first chapter was very cliché. Harriet moves to Paris obtaining a job in the same building that her grandmother, Claire, worked in. And, she settles in the same apartment that her gra
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Marian
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Making the hand rocking motion.

The grandmothers' story was interesting and good. The granddaughter's story was not so interesting, and the coincidences required a suspension of disbelief beyond what I could muster. Also, the granddaughter was, well, kind of annoying and weak through most of the book, which made it difficult not to whiz through her sections.
Jackie
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Dissenting opinion

I picked this free book through the Amazon First Reads program (or something like that). I love stories set in WWII and I am always looking to read something from a different angle. I enjoy books that move back and forth in time and reading about a character in the present discovering something about their family. I also enjoy sewing as a hobby. So the description of this book rang a lot of happy bells for me. I’m sad that it fell so short. In terms of storytelling and writing,
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Amanda
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fantastic with one small note

Fantastic book. It was gripping and suspenseful, painful and emotional, uplifting and allegorical for the times. My one note is that the story of the three seamstresses is set up to be revealed to Harriet through some letters. I don’t want to say any spoilers so I’ll just say that it seems unlikely that the person writing the letters would have such in depth knowledge of events that took place without him/her.

I loved the idea behind the letters but it was hard to be
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Ankit Garg
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Dressmaker's Gift by Fiona Valpy is a must read historical fiction novel.

It follows the common trend most of the novels in this genre are following - a young protagonist trying to discover their familial history and uncover their roots. The plot is cliched at times, yet the execution makes the journey of reading this book worth its while.

There are abundant mentions of Paris and its fashion industry. The end also mentions a few good books related to the German war camps.

Verdict: Recommended i
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Lillian Martin
Oct 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
So......the writing is not compelling, completely sophomoric and unimaginative. I’m finding myself skimming..not sure how this got such high ratings!
DarkRaven Reviews
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A hauntingly beautiful story. This book was completely immersive and really transports you back through time. It's rare I read wartime stories that actually depict everything how it actually was rather than romanticizing everything. Very down to earth book with relatable characters.
Karren  Sandercock
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks to NetGalley, Amazon Publishing UK and Fiona Valpy for my copy of her new book: The Dressmaker's Gift. I have read her previous book: The Beekeeper's Promise and I loved it.
Paris, 1940. The city is occupied by the Nazis, three young French seamstresses Claire, Mireille and Vivienne are kept busy sewing beautiful dresses for German officers wives and their mistresses.
The girls share a tiny apartment, it's situated on the top floor of the fashion house where they work and the three girls ar
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Georgina
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jill Miclean
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: wwii, history-lite
Yet another dual timeline story that falls short in the history department. This book didn't have much going on and nothing really happens until about half way through. The 3 girls are supposed to be spies during WWII but they are the most boring spies ever until they are caught. By then, you really don't care much about them as there is not a lot of emotional depth to this book. There isn't enough history for my taste. The only real history comes when two of the girls is sent to a work camp and ...more
Vicki Willis
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a historical fiction book set during WW2 in France. There was a MC who was in current time trying to find out about her grandmother. Her grandmother was one of 3 young women living in France during WW2. I found the background about fashion and dressmaking very interesting. The portion of the book describing the heinous war crimes was graphic and heartbreaking. This was the first book I have read by this author and I will checking out her other books.
Greta Halliday
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing book this turned out to be. So sympathetically written, the story slipped seamlessly between present and past intertwining the lives of people and creating a picture of death and sorrow mingled with Joy and happiness. This story is so convincing it could almost be real. My favourite kind of book set during the war years, it is a must read and if I was able I would award 10*
Leigh
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, favorites
Paris, 1940. With the city occupied by the Nazis, three young seamstresses go about their normal lives as best they can. But all three are hiding secrets. War-scarred Mireille is fighting with the Resistance; Claire has been seduced by a German officer; and Vivienne’s involvement is something she can’t reveal to either of them.

Two generations later, Claire’s English granddaughter Harriet arrives in Paris, rootless and adrift, desperate to find a connection with her past. Living and working in th
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Chandni
Nov 26, 2019 rated it liked it
A good enough read. It started out slow but picks up. The Harriet character was annoying and her chapters were hard to get through. Overall an interesting story worth a read once.
Karen
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy is a story that pulls at the heartstrings. Set in two-time periods, Claire's granddaughter, Harriet travels to France to complete a one-year internship in a Paris fashion house in 2017. Her internship includes housing in an apartment on an upper floor of the fashion house. While settling, her roommate sees a picture of three women that Harriet places next to her bed. Her roommate tells her one of the girls is her grandmother Mirelle. Harriet’s grandmother, Cl ...more
Kathy
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ww2
I have struggled to finish off this book for months, seeing it in my list of books on my kindle and trying to engage with the story. It was one of those Amazon First Read selections back in September of 2019. I never do well with those choices. There are so many good books covering WWII challenges in Paris, and I can't say that this is one of those. For me it was too sentimental/emotional.


I own this, but it is now available as Kindle Unlimited if you want a feminine take couched in family secret
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Debby
What can I say about Fiona Valpy...just that this first time author to this reader did an outstanding job of keeping me engaged and enjoying a wonderfully written story in 1940 Paris during WWII setting. Such a historical story of three women that revealed suspense, painful, and emotional drama. I was captivated by the historical parts of the story. The friendship between the women was pivotal as their loyalty to one another and their cause was evident and beautiful.

Very nice story and recommend
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Trudy
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
So difficult giving this book only 4 stars. Here’s why: The beginning almost lost me. After previously reading three 5 star books in a row, I was not sure this one would keep my attention. There were just too many eye rolling coincidences. BUT THEN.....
It just got BETTER AND BETTER AND BETTER with each page! I couldn’t read it quickly enough! At that point, it was an exciting 5 star read and this was the majority of the book. I just couldn’t believe how compelling it was! 😁.
THEN...it cooled dow
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Page Turner
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another historical fiction novel with the time frame leading up to and through WWII. The setting includes Great Britain, France and Germany. This book focuses on the fashion and designer industry and I found it very interesting. It is a well written book and the characters include several generations of three young women from different countries and social classes. A good read from start to finish.
Pattie
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this!!
Vanessa
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
**FULL REVIEW**

This book was so well thought out, I found myself thinking about it even when I wasn’t reading. Claire’s story, along with Vivi and Mierelle in war-torn Paris during the German occupancy...the uprising against the Nazi soldiers in a secret network of people determined not to succumb to a communist way of life. Women were grossly underestimated and utilized their resources in creative and deceptively simple ways.

I loved the ties between generations, the solid foundation a young gir
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Andi
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, set in Paris, a city that has fond memories for me.

I liked the friendships of all the girls, and the writing brought the little apartment to life for me.

I love a good dual time line too.
Carolyn
Oct 24, 2019 rated it liked it
If you like historical novels about World War II, you may like this. I found the coincidences in the story too unbelievable and the writing wasn't that compelling to me.
Donna Hines
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, arc
I'm often asked how I rate a book and I'm glad it's asked because I've seen other reviewers rate based how they like the characters, unexpected v expected outcome, historical factors even if fiction based, but rarely do you hear about the writing, the plot, the flow, etc.
I'm one that also adds on more to this mix:emotions. In the end, would it be something I'd recommend to others? Did it stir up the creative juices? Was it moving and heartfelt and captured the moment even if not an accurate port
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Mary Ann
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was an Amazon First Read (September), and I was underwhelmed; I'm not having much luck with First Reads lately. The basic structure of two alternating narratives is okay: 1) a young woman (Claire) and her two co-workers and friends (Mireille and Vivianne) working with the Resistance in WWII Paris and 2) the search by her granddaughter (Harriet) for her family's history in a 2017 Paris rocked by the 2015 series of terrorist attacks. The story and characters are entirely fictional and not bas ...more
Stephanie Chavira
Sep 01, 2020 rated it liked it
I loved the Parisian accent of Harriet’s sections. Did not like Mireille’s narrator. I never thought the narrators were make it or break it for me..... first time for everything. Story was nicely braided with the historical fiction.
norma  linza
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Unique historical novel

I liked the unique story and the historical references. I wish the author had given more on Coco and her betrayal and morals. Coco was a traitor and profited from her immoral lifestyle.
Deep, almost unbelievable, information in what life was like.
What I didn't like was the rambling on and on, the musing over and over again. Especially the end.
With drastic editing this could even be a great movie. The author just writes way too much. I ended up skipping dozens of rambling p
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Larissa
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
Meh

The modern day story-line bored me to tears. The first person writing didn't feel as well thought out as the third person was for the back in time story-line.

The back in time stuff was ok, but again I felt like it lacked development. It was all just too basic for me to get invested in it. When I finished it, I felt nothing but disappointment.
Amanda
It was an easy read but didn’t have the same jaw dropping, breathtaking storyline’s like other books written in the same era/location. Also, there were a lot of similarities to ‘The Nightingale’, just less exciting, so that was a bit disappointing.
Chelsie
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-shelves
Another amazing story about women war heroes during WWII! Three young seamstresses befriend each other when they get put together in the same rooming area while working in a seamstress shop. The three of them all have their secrets, and their secrets all become tangled within each other.

Claire, Vivienne, and Mireille find themselves relying and learning to trust each other with all of the resistance work they are each individually doing, meanwhile keeping up the facade in the sewing shop. Every
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Fiona Valpy spent seven years living in France, having moved there from the UK in 2007. She and her family renovated an old, rambling farmhouse in the Bordeaux winelands, during which time she developed new-found skills in cement-mixing, interior decorating and wine-tasting.

All of these inspirations, along with a love for the place, the people and their history, have found their way into the book
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